Working remotely: 5 essential tips

It’s no secret that we’ve found ourselves in uncharted territory lately. Many of us have had to switch to working remotely during the pandemic. Working remotely entails employees working primarily from home, and this presents various new challenges. From being more digitally active to seeking a new balance between our work lives and personal lives, there are many new obstacles to overcome. Today we’ll be covering 5 tips for working remotely during the pandemic.

Finding remote work

Now more than ever, vacancies are posted with the requirement to work from home. You can find many jobs, including remote jobs over on CollegeLifeWork. These jobs vary from general management to software engineering, to hospitality. Although some of us may find the idea of working from home unappealing, there are many positive aspects of it too. If remote work is new to you, discovering the benefits of working from home can be encouraging. Naturally, remote work job opportunities may now entail an online interview process, so being aware of how to succeed in video interviews is a must! When being interviewed virtually, there are further aspects to consider, such as, camera angles, body posture, and preparing your surroundings.

Balancing work life and personal life

As our houses become our new offices, the line between our work lives and personal lives can become a bit blurred when working from home. It’s important to have our guidelines and expectations clearly communicated at work. This can be from how often we must be available to answer phone calls, to scheduling breaks from staring at the screen. It is important to establish what our working hours are, so we are able to hold ourselves accountable and have a smoother transition into online working.

Working remotely can be made much simpler if we know what is expected of us, and are then able to switch off (literally!) and focus on our personal lives at the end of the day or during breaks. It can be tempting to work longer hours as we may feel like we are still at the office, but it’s crucial to take time for ourselves. For this reason, it's important that we have areas (or mental cues) that let us know when we are working, and when it's time to relax. Cues can also be helpful if we live with others as they can show when we are available to talk, and when we need privacy to focus on work. For example, letting your flatmates know that when your door is closed, you're unreachable.

 

Setting up our space for success

Remote work, for a lot of us, means being in one place for most of or at least part of the day. How we set up this space can make the difference in our levels of focus and productivity. Ideally, we should set our work up in a place with little room for distraction. For example, somewhere quiet with non work-related devices put away. As the old saying goes, ''out of sight, out of mind''. Having an area which is designated solely to working can help us to separate our work and relaxation time. It can just be a corner in your room, or if possible, a separate room which you work in. Mental cues that signal to us when we are done with work are also useful, for example, turning off our computers, or getting re-dressed into leisurewear or something comfortable.

Another useful tip is to remove clutter in our working area to help maintain focus. Other than our physical space, setting up our mental space for success is equally as important. Taking periodic walking breaks to get fresh air (in a non-crowded area, of course) can help us to keep our minds happy. There are also free meditation apps, such as InsightTimer, that contain short meditations that can be used for work breaks. Meditating for as little as five minutes can help us to refresh, let go of tension, and move forward with our day in a positive way.

 

Staying connected while working remotely

You may either be rejoicing (if so, good for you!) in having to work from home alone, or finding it tough to adjust. Whether you’re a student or an employee, working from home can come with its downsides socially. When we're used to seeing people every day and feeling part of a larger community, it can be tricky to transition to being at home for extended periods of time. Therefore, organising video meetings where possible can be a good way to meet our social needs. Although we have to stay physically distant to others, keeping in contact digitally can help us to feel closer to others.

Patience with ourselves and others

For many of us, this is a unfamiliar way of working. Businesses are swiftly adapting, and expect their employees to learn how to use new programs and practice new collaboration techniques. Aside from that, let’s be real, this is a challenging time for plenty of people! Let’s all remember to take a breath, and recognise that we’re in this together. This, if viewed optimistically, can be a great opportunity to learn new skills and realise our connection to others. We are all human and doing our best to adapt.

We hope with these pointers you'll be feeling more able to find ease during this period of change and learning.

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